“My liberal arts education has really been a blessing in many ways,” says Chris Down ’93. Down is vice president of design for Mattel, Inc., a toy manufacturing company headquartered in El Segundo, Calif. He feels that the design education he received from Notre Dame prepared him in a way that set him apart from other designers.
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“As a singer, I spend all my time dealing with texts. I sing poetry, I sing theatre, I’m singing in different languages, and all my training at Notre Dame helped me immensely for that,” says Paul Appleby ’05.
“I wouldn’t have traded my English major at Notre Dame for any other major,” says Greg Miller, ’87, a managing director at Greenhill and Company, an investment bank in New York City.
Donald and Marilyn Keough have made a $30 million gift to the University of Notre Dame to underwrite the construction of a new building for its international institutes. To be named in honor of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the structure will be conjoined to Nanovic Hall, a recently announced facility to be built on Notre Dame Avenue south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.
Charles Leavitt, who received his Ph.D. in literature from Notre Dame in 2010, has accepted a position at the University of Reading as a lecturer in Italian studies—equivalent to assistant professor in the American university system. Located in Reading, England, the school is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world.
It’s no secret that students in the United States lag behind their global peers in math. Nicole McNeil, ACE Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, believes the problem starts with basic arithmetic, where students develop a misunderstanding of the equal sign.
Robert S. and Elizabeth Nanovic of North Yarmouth, Maine, have made a leadership gift to the University of Notre Dame for the construction of a new social sciences building in the College of Arts and Letters. Nanovic Hall will be built on Notre Dame Avenue, south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies, and will house the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed by August 2017, prior to the start of the academic year.
Exposing Notre Dame history students to a diverse array of career options and connecting students to successful alumni are the goals of the Department of History’s successful “History 20/20” speaker series. “The alumni we invited back to campus represent well the wide spectrum of vocations pursued by history graduates: investment bankers, social entrepreneurs, lawyers, sports journalists, political consultants, and teachers—and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg,” says Director of Undergraduate Studies Daniel Graff, who launched the series in fall 2012.
“I’ve always been intrigued with the study of the human person and the way that we interact with others in society,” says Catherine Reidy ’13, a psychology major and anthropology minor from Greenwood Village, Colo. A Rhodes Scholar finalist, Reidy was recently awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate work at the University of Oxford. She will use the highly selective award—covering full tuition, fees, and living expenses—to study for a master’s degree in African studies beginning in October 2013.
The 2013-14 Notre Dame Forum, titled “Women in Leadership” will include a variety of events focusing on the roles and realities of women who are leaders in their fields, beginning with an event this month featuring two leaders in the U.S. Department of Defense.
Notre Dame political science and peace studies alumnus Brian Klein ’08 not only served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer, he has made a career with the venerable service organization. In July 2013, Klein was appointed to a job as special assistant to Peace Corps Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes.
Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters alumnus Peter Bevacqua ’93, was named Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America in November. When Bevacqua considers the path that led him to a golf-lover’s dream job, the former English and film student credits his liberal arts education at Notre Dame, which gave him the freedom to let his career naturally take shape, he says.
As a policy officer for African Risk Capacity, Notre Dame anthropology and peace studies alumna Mary Boyer ’07 helps provide financial relief to African countries following drought.
Theresa Rebeck ’80 says she has a playwright’s brain. The critics and her peers apparently agree: Not only is she an a Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee and National Theatre Conference Award winner, but Rebeck was also invited to participate in the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in summer 2012 to develop her new play, Fool. She was one of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, an honor she shared with another participant from Notre Dame, Anne García-Romero, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre.
“As a freshman I was interested in psychology and history and English and anthropology and political science. I chose American studies because I’ve been able to take all of those while also studying issues of race and gender, religion, politics,” says Olivia Lee, an American studies and peace studies major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“We study not only the pieces of music that these composers wrote but where they grew up, who they learned music from, and how previous composers influenced the type of music that they wrote,” says Samantha Osborn, a music major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. “You really can’t understand a piece of music until you understand the history, politics, art—all of the influences that helped create that piece of music.”
Justin Farrell, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, is interested in how human values, morality, and religion impact our responses to environmental problems. His dissertation analyzes the cultural dimensions of environmental policy conflict in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The study is funded primarily by a three-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Graduate STAR Fellowship for Environmental Studies.
Behind the mask, the cape, and the suit of every superhero stands a seemingly ordinary individual blessed with an incredible gift. Behind Captain America stands Stephen McFeely ’91. The English and goverment major is part of the screenwriting duo behind the Captain America movies, the Narnia trilogy, and Pain & Gain, as well as the Primetime Emmy Award-winning biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.
Katie Beirne, a Marshall Scholar and 1998 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed deputy director of communications for the White House.
Melissa Mayus never planned on specializing in Old English. The current English Ph.D. student took an Old English class as an undergraduate at Notre Dame that sparked an unexpected passion that has taken her all the way to Iceland.
An engineer with a strong liberal arts background is a valuable asset in today’s business world, says Craig Simon, president and chief executive officer of FedEx SupplyChain and a 1989 alumnus of Notre Dame’s distinctive Arts and Letters/Engineering Dual-Degree Program. “When you get into the business world, you’re going to stand out because you will have the ability to use both sides of your brain,” says Simon, who spoke at a recent event honoring the top students in the program.
Millions of Americans watched live nightly news coverage of the papal conclave in Vatican City, and if you happened to be watching NBC, you were likely being told the news by a Notre Dame alumna. Anne Thompson ’79 is NBC’s chief environmental affairs correspondent and has covered stories from the Gulf oil spill to Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. Given her Catholic background and previous reporting on the Church, Thompson was assigned to cover the conclave, much to her excitement.
Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters alumni Brian Powers ’12 and Nicholas Gunty ’12 have a lot to be proud of after releasing a music video for the title track of their first album, Kandote. What they did with the proceeds from that compilation, however, is even better.
Imagine you have just completed 26.2 miles of running, with legs like Jell-O, a headache, and worn-out lungs. Now imagine running that same marathon in the searing heat of the Sahara Desert or the blistering cold of the North Pole. That’s what Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters alumnus Michael Collins ’87, ’91 M.A. does. In addition to being an “ultra-marathoner,” Collins, who has a Ph.D. in English, is also a successful novelist and playwright.
Melanie A. Howard, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Master in Theological Studies (MTS) program, has won the 2011-12 Word & World Essay Prize for Doctoral Candidates. The prize is sponsored by Word & World: Theology for Christian Ministry, a quarterly journal published by Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minn. Joseph S. Khalil, a current Ph.D. student in the department, won the prize last year.
The Spider-Man series, The Avengers, the X-Men series—these films, produced by Marvel Comics’ production company, Marvel Studios, are some of the highest-grossing films of the 21st century. All are based on characters and stories from Marvel comic books, and it’s the job of Bill Rosemann ’93 to keep those characters and stories coming. Rosemann, an editor at Marvel Comics’ New York office, read comics in his youth and majored in English at Notre Dame.
With sports injuries a growing concern, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decided last year to create a centralized medical office to improve safety in college sports nationwide. And they hired a Domer to do it. In October, the NCAA named Dr. Brian Hainline ’78 as the NCAA’s first ever chief medical officer. At Notre Dame, Hainline took the Arts and Letters pre-med track, which allowed him to study philosophy, too.
For the 13th year in a row, the University of Notre Dame has earned a spot on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country. With 23 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, the University ranks No. 18 and remains a solid source of individuals committed to making a difference at home and abroad. Since the agency was created in 1961, 865 Notre Dame alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers.
Sylvester Schieber, who received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1974, was recently recognized by TIAA-CREF for his work on the history of the U.S. retirement system and the ways in which it could be improved. Schieber won the 17th annual TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for his book The Predictable Surprise: The Unraveling of the U.S. Retirement System.
University of Notre Dame alumnus and NASA shuttle veteran Kevin A. Ford spoke with his alma mater from his command post on the International Space Station. “I took a Russian class at Notre Dame. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would fly someday in a Russian spacecraft with two cosmonauts, speaking only Russian,” he says.